This past Sunday I got to hear one of the best sermons I have heard in a while. Ironically, the pastor later told me that he was questioning his sermon as he was preaching it. I think that was definitely a ploy from the evil one because the pastor told me that he sent up a prayer and kept going. I praise God he did. I told him that even if I was the only one impacted by the sermon, then it was still worth it.
It is hard to summarize exactly everything that he spoke about, but here are some of the things that stuck out to me. Most predominantly, he talked about how God should never be left out of our motivations. God should ALWAYS play a part in our decisions. The Pastor gave the example of how after a long day at work it is normal for people to go home and selfishly assume that they are going to relax, zone out, and be “off” the rest of the day. However, if God were included in the picture, every selfish ambition should immediately change to how we can best service others. Yes, self-care is important, but it should never control us. The Pastor highlighted how we are DEAD to sin and how we should let it remain dead. Going back to what is dead has a name and it is necrophilia. It is so easy to fall back into our old ways and people do not call us out on it because “everyone does it.” Being selfish with our time and energy is so easy and our culture deems that we “deserve” to focus on ourselves, but God disagrees. He is LIVING and our hope in Him should be infinitely enough. God calls us above and beyond, to leave our dead selves behind and to chase His living and breathing story for us.
He went as far to say that God should play a part in all of our hopes and our dreams. For example, we hope for Spring and are excited to start gardening again; that is great, but how can God be involved? Maybe we can plant a little extra and share what grows with our neighbors- anything that includes selflessness. This reminded me that it does not matter if what I do is helping people, if my motivation is off, I am in the wrong. I want to find someone to keep me accountable; to stop me in my tracks before the devil convinces me that it’s OK. Things as simple as watching TV are not innately bad (necessarily). But, what if you cannot drag yourself away from the TV? What if you cannot stop yourself from saying “just one more episode”? It is SO EASY to fall into the trap of “I deserve this,” “It’s not so bad cuz everyone does it,” “I could stop if I want, but I don’t want to.”
I know this sounds so scattered because I am having trouble organizing my thoughts. It speaks to how moved, compelled, inspired, and convicted I am by the Pastor’s sermon. So I apologize for what is unclear, but the overall point is- you really should never settle for who you are. Yes, God will never love you more than He does now (because it is already beyond what we can imagine), but even though we do not need to deserve His love, we do need to tirelessly work to be more like Him every SINGLE DAY, step by step, moment by moment. This does not happen if we live for ourselves and by the rules our culture deems as OK. He will be our judge one day and I want to have surrendered everything to Him so that He can shape my heart to look like His. Eternity is in my heart…and that is something I need reminding of every day.
This is a prayer I need to remember daily:
Almighty God and Father, may everything I did this morning, everything I am doing now, and everything I am about to do be ACCEPTABLE in Your sight. Today I surrender my will to You and with eternity in my heart, I go today to do Your will. Make me more like You, help me to HEAR You and give me the power and strength to OBEY You.